Government & Politics
Bhutan’s political system has developed from an absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy. In 1999, the fourth king of Bhutan created a body called the Lhengye Zhungtshog (Council of Ministers). The Druk Gyalpo (King of Druk Yul) is head of state. Executive power is exercised by the Lhengye Zhungtshog, the council of ministers. Legislative power was vested in both the government and the former Grand National Assembly.
On 17 December 2005, the 4th King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, announced to a stunned nation that the first general elections would be held in 2008 and that he would abdicate the throne in favor of his eldest son, the crown prince. King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck took the throne on 14 December 2006 upon his father’s abdication. King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was adorned with Bhutan’s Raven Crown at an ornate coronation ceremony in Thimphu on Thursday, 6 November 2008, becoming the world’s youngest reigning monarch and head of the newest democracy.
Millitary and Foreign Affairs
The Royal Bhutan Army is Bhutan’s military service. It includes the Royal Bodyguard and the Royal Bhutan Police. Membership is voluntary and the minimum age for recruitment is 18. The standing army numbers about 16,000 and is trained by the Indian Army. It has an annual budget of about $13.7 million (1.8 percent of GDP). Being a landlocked country, Bhutan has no navy. It also has no air force or army aviation corps. The Army relies on the Eastern Air Command of the Indian Air Force for air assistance.